Did Donnie Yen and family face racial discrimination at charity event?

PHOTO: amfAR

Action star Donnie Yen has used the phrase "the Chinese are not the sick men of Asia" in reel life, and now his wife has found the need to echo him in real life.

The Hong Kong actor, along with his wife Cissy Wang and daughter Jasmine Yen, attended a charity gala hosted by amfAR on Monday (March 25) where they were allegedly racially discriminated by the organiser.

"Tonight we experienced discrimination by an organisation from overseas. Prioritized and supported a charity but in return, we were shocked by how we were treated," Cissy wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday, which was accompanied by the hashtag the Chinese are not the sick men of Asia (中國人不是東亞病夫).

According to Hong Kong media who interviewed Donnie and Cissy a day after the incident, the couple were still hopping mad with the way they were treated.

Cissy said that there was a communication breakdown between them and the organiser: "When my family was about to enter the venue, we were stopped by the staff who questioned us, 'the gala dinner has not yet started, why are you already inside?'

"The situation was a mess and there weren't ushers around. When we were finally introduced to the event organiser, his attitude upset me -- I felt insulted and disrespected."

She added that there was differential treatment between them and the Hollywood and Korean pop stars: "I think they simply look down on us Chinese".

The three left even before the gala dinner started because Cissy felt like if they stayed any longer, she would be setting a bad example for their children.

Cissy emphasised that they did not leave the gala dinner simply to create buzz for themselves.

Chinese actor Ray Lui, who was also invited to the gala dinner, revealed that he too left alongside his good friend Donnie.

"We went to support this event, and whilst I was making my way through the hordes of photographers at the red carpet into the premises, I saw Donnie and his wife storming out of there, and Donnie said 'bro, I'm leaving'.

"He (Donnie) told me that he was mad that he was despised by foreigners, and asked if I was leaving. Of course, I said yes -- as brothers, we have to stick together."

Donnie then complained to Ray about how "these foreigners are coming to our countries, asking us Chinese to support their event, but still despise us".

Ray also revealed that Donnie got rudely treated when his family asked for a change of seats at the gala dinner.

The organiser only complied with their request after the trio walked out of the venue but Donnie said he was not going back.

Other attendees of the annual amfAR gala dinner in Hong Kong included British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding, Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh, Korean star Lay Zhang, supermodel Heidi Klum, and others.

We have requested for a comment from amfAR but they have yet to respond.

lynette@asiaone.com